Song of the Day: Junior Wells and Buddy Guy, “Help Me”

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Harp player Junior Wells and guitarist Buddy Guy first worked together on Junior’s 1965 album Hoodoo Man Blues and they played together on and off until Junior’s death in 1998. In the mid-’70’s they played regularly in a band that also included Buddy’s brother Phil on guitar and A. C. Reed (Jimmy Reed’s brother) on saxophone. Some friends of mine and I went see them at a club named Ratso’s and spent way too much money, and never regretted a penny of it. Here Junior pays tribute to one of his teachers, Sonny Boy Williamson II (aka Alex “Rice” Miller). During this period, Buddy took a break from his Stratocaster and was playing a Guild 335 lookalike.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Eileen Barton, “If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d’ve Baked A Cake”

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Oh, I have a good one for you today, when the prompt(s) is(are) “Birthday, Cake, Gift, Party, Surprise” (maybe because Jim, our fearless leader in this endeavor, is having a birthday?). I know for a fact it’s my high school friend Mark’s birthday. Mark, if you’re reading this, Happy Birthday, and don’t forget, better over the hill than under it.

Today’s song is Eileen Barton’s “If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d’ve Baked a Cake.” Here’s what The Blogger’s Best Friend ™ says about it:

“If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake” is a popular song written by Al Hoffman, Bob Merrill, and Clem Watts and published in 1950.

The best known version of the song was recorded by Eileen Barton in January 1950. The recording was released by National Records as catalog number 9103. When the song became too big a hit for National to handle, it arranged with Mercury Records to help with distribution. The record first reached the Billboard charts on March 3, 1950 and lasted 15 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1. The song was one of Tom Dowd’s first hits as a producer.

In 1962, Barton’s recording of the song was included in a list of 101 Perennial Singles Hits compiled by Billboard – a group “For year-round programming by juke box operators and radio stations … a catalog of standards that can provide consistent earnings for operators and a wealth of material for discussion by broadcasters.”

Here are the lyrics, ftom Lyrics.com, though hers are a little different on the record:

Well, well, well, look who’s here.
I haven’t seen you in many a year.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake,
baked a cake, baked a cake.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake.
How-ja do. How-ja do, How-ja do.

Had you dropped me a letter I’d ‘ve hired a band,
grandest band in the land.
Had you dropped me a letter I’d ‘ve hired a band
and spread the welcome mat for you.

Now I don’t know where you came from
’cause I don’t know where you’ve been.
But it really doesn’t matter
grab a chair and fill your platter
and dig dig dig right in.

If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake,
hired a band, goodness sake.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake.
How-ja do. How-ja do. How-ja do.

If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake,
baked a cake, baked a cake.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake.
How-ja do. How-ja do, How-ja do.

Had you dropped me a letter I’d ‘ve hired a hall,
great big hall, band and all.
Had you dropped me a letter I’d ‘ve hired a hall
and spread the welcome mat for you.

Now I don’t know where you came from
’cause I don’t know where you’ve been.
But it really doesn’t matter
grab a chair and fill your platter
and dig dig dig right in.

If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve kept the pot,
coffee pot nice and hot.
If I knew you were comin’ I’d ‘ve baked a cake.
How-ja do. How-ja do. How-ja do.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for April 5, 2020.

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Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Dan Hill, “Sometimes When We Touch”

So, it’s a touchy-feely Sunday, because the prompt is "touch/feel." Here’s a song from a touchy-feely period in music, the late ’70’s.

"Sometimes When We Touch" was written by Barry Mann (who has written extensively with Cynthia Weil) and Dan Hill, a Canadian singer and songwriter who had great success on the Adult Contemporary charts in the US and Canada in the late ’70’s and ’80’s. "Sometimes When We Touch," released in late 1977, reached #1 on both the Canadian Pop and Adult Contemporary charts, #3 on the Hot 100, #10 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, and #13 in the UK.

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply
I’d rather hurt you honestly
Than mislead you with a lie
And who am I to judge you
On what you say or do?
I’m only just beginning to see the real you

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Romance and all its strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the insecurity
Some tenderness survives
I’m just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize fighter
Still trapped within my youth

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

At times I’d like to break you
And drive you to your knees
At times I’d like to break through
And hold you endlessly

At times I understand you
And I know how hard you’ve tried
I’ve watched while love commands you
And I’ve watched love pass you by
At times I think we’re drifters
Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passion flares again

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for March 29, 2020.

Song of the Day: Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, "Reuben James"

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition had a Top 10 hit with "Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town," the title track from their 1969 album. Later that year, they released another song from the album, "Reuben James." Written by Alex Harvey and Barry Etris, it’s the story of a Black sharecropper who becomes mentor to the singer. It only reached #26 on the Hot 100, but to #9 in Canada and New Zealand and #10 in Australia. Conway Twitty also recorded the song for his 1970 album Hello Darlin’.

Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Dionne Warwick, "Promises, Promises"

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Today’s Prompt: Promise/Vow/Oath

In 1968, Burt Bacharach and Hal David collaborated with playwright Neil Simon to create the musical Promises, Promises. Based on the 1960 film The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray, the original Broadway production starred Jerry Orbach, Jill O’Hara, and Edward Winter, respectively. It opened on December 1, 1968 and ran until January 1, 1972, for a total of 1,281 performances. Additionally, it ran in the West End for 560 performances in 1969. It was revived in 2010 with the Bacharach/David songs "I Say A Little Prayer" and "A House Is Not A Home" added to the score.

Whenever you think Bacharach and David, you naturally think of Dionne Warwick, who sang demos for them early in her career and is perhaps the greatest interpreter of their music. Most of her hits in the mid- and late 1960’s were written by Burt and Hal. She recorded "Promises, Promises" in 1968, and it reached #19 on the Hot 100, #47 on the R&B chart, #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #8 in Canada.

The lyrics, courtesy of AZLyrics:

Oh, promises, promises
I’m all through with promises, promises now
I don’t know how I got the nerve to walk out
If I shout, remember I feel free
Now I can look at myself and be proud
I’m laughing out loud

Oh, promises, promises
This is where those promises, promises end
I don’t pretend that what was wrong can be right
Every night I sleep now, no more lies
Things that I promised myself fell apart
But I found my heart

Oh, promises, their kind of promises, can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kind of promises, take all the joy from life
Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises
Can lead to joy and hope and love
Yes, love!!

Every night I sleep now, no more lies
Things that I promised myself fell apart
But I found my heart

Oh, promises, their kind of promises can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kind of promises take all the joy from life
Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises
Can lead to joy and hope and love
Yes, love!!

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for March 22, 2020.